Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sewing Karma's Gonna Get You

Lucky me.  I met a young woman who wanted to learn to sew and she asked me what I would charge for lessons.  I told her, but also told her that I was open to the idea of bartering.

She then uttered magical words that were music to my ears:
"I am a massage therapist."

So now I am getting a weekly massage from a professional massage therapist (Heather James at Hillsborough Yoga and Healing Arts) and she and her daughter are getting weekly sewing lessons.  This will remain a health-issue-free blog, but trust me when I say that I do have issues for which massage provides the perfect therapy and relief.

Not only is the massage wonderful, but having people come over to play with me in my studio is just as wonderful.  Not only that, but one of them is a 9 year old girl who is very interested in sewing.  Not only that, but a 5 month old baby comes along for the ride.  This may or may not be YOUR idea of heaven, but it is mine. 

On her first lesson, Heather completed a pair of pants for baby Gryphon from a recycled sweater. 

Adorable, don't you think?  Heather went home and made another pair, too.

On lesson 2 Raven came along with her mom.  Here you see her using a Singer 99 with hand crank to add rick rack to a strap.

By the end of that session she had the straps sewed on to the tote.

She came back with me on Saturday after my massage and while her mom was still working and finished up her roomy tote bag.  She did an excellent job.  Just look at how straight those straps are.  First class.

The bag is made from upholstery fabric with a coating on the inside, the straps are the serious kind I use on luggage, and there is rick rack.  The Singer 99 crunched its way through two layers of all that on the bottom seam, powered by Raven.  

I gave Heather and Raven the 15 minute tour that I call "The History of America From The Late-1800's To Now Through Sewing Machines."  (leaf tensioners, vibrating shuttles, 66 in a treadle, 115, 15-91, 15 clones, 15-125, 306, a Kenmore 89 cam stack machine, and my modern Janome with 500 decorative stitches.  It's a selection designed to tell a story, not the complete herd.  mwahahahahahaha.)

They like the people powered machines and on the next lesson they can try sewing on the 66 treadle and Heather can check out a vintage Japanese zigzag machine that I adapted to hand crank.

Someday I will outline the DragonPoodle economic philosophy, but for now I will just say that casting your bread upon the waters can come up trumps.  How's your sewing karma? 


  1. haha! I love it! I know I've said this a bajillion times but honestly, I'm glad we found each other :D

    1. and I've said it just as many times, but I am also very glad that we found each other!

  2. Thank you for teaching my daughter and granddaughter to sew. I am a sometimes sewer, but come from a long line of sewers. My grandmother pieced and quilted her whole life, and my mother quilts now too, along with creating cross stitch art. Thank you. Rhonda (Heather's mom)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Rhonda,
      It is my great pleasure to spend time with your lovely daughter and her lovely children! Both Heather and Raven have taken to sewing right away, and now I know why. You should be proud of them!

  3. Lovely post Cheryl!

    Both mother and daughter are very talented! I think your lessons are going to be unforgetable in this family! Once more one it is proved how fun is to work with people-powered machines! I wish you guys happy sewing lessons! :)

  4. Ok, I've heard of leaf tensioners, but, I haven't a clue what they are!?! My Janome is older than yours. It doesn't have as many stitches, less than 300, I think. I have VS's, a 66, and a 15, along with a few others. I just love these things. I wish you were closer. I never really learned how to sew when I had the chance. I'm a self taught quilter.


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